Application-Driven Network Architectures

The adoption of application-driven network architectures has been driven by the emergence of hybrid cloud architectures, which have led to an evolution in networking solutions that are used to connect different components. As these distributed environments can quickly become too complex to manage, these architectures provide a way to address security gaps and streamline network management.

Legacy WAN technology (i.e. MPLS and IPSec VPN) connecting users to multiple local area networks has struggled to meet the performance, management and security demands of these modern hybrid cloud architectures. To address these inadequacies, software-defined WANs (SD-WAN) have evolved to focus on the needs of applications – as opposed to the users.

Supporting the creation of application-driven network architectures, SD-WANs are designed to securely connect applications to remote resources, but in ways that specifically serve the needs of the application. Application-based access policies, QoS, and certificate-based authentication of network traffic are just a few of the examples of the application-centric features that this new breed of networking technology enables.

And because many applications are moving to public cloud environments, but still rely on resources in a variety of on-premise locations, these next-generation connectivity solutions have incorporated features that enable this migration. Features such as the flexibility to run on any internet connection, easily deploy from the cloud to any remote environment and centralize visibility across all connections from a single pane of glass, enable ease of management while lowering the total cost of ownership.

Application-driven network architectures are not trying to connect all traffic between two points like a typical branch-to-branch networking solution. Instead, it optimized for the security, compliance and support of a specific application. As the distinction between these two types of networking frameworks becomes more understood, the co-existence of these solutions will become more common.

Read more about the definition and benefits of Application Driven Network Architecture in our latest Network Computing article.